in the land and time of empty beachside towns
On the nights you hold like a snow globe
too heavy to shake, asleep at your knee
in the backseat as you drift into Maine
dragging your dusty kite moon, cold and fat
over the busy ocean, which sweeps
every eyelash ever blown into its peeling hands,
and with a bored fingertip you swipe a tear
from the blushing window, and from the front seat
sounds a flicker of a voice and the whispering radio
merrily picking ghosts from the trees, when 95
is paved with vinyl from the center of the first
record you were allowed to touch,
and the hollow globes of light dart south
like a school of fish escaping and escaping behind,
when the car sighs to a stop at a light by the exit
and the engine forgets its line, do you wonder
if there is any act more holy than keeping still?
Do you pray to the walks home from the arcade,
the blackout when the last candle wouldn’t stay lit
and the flurry at the windows wouldn’t stick?
Do you pray to the stiff smell of wax that faded
into the empty chill at the edge of the glass?
dawn cuts off the capitol and then falls back asleep
Even Caligula woke up alone some December mornings, and woke up early, by accident, to the sun still clinging onto a cup of black tea warming over. The Emperor would roll to one side and wind up staring down at a bloodstain on his vast white sheets, a smooth amoeba the color of rust. But as we have read, emperors preferred to stay in bed late, especially in the wicked Roman winters, when the wind would throb and hover and reek of machines breaking down, great overbearing machines too complex for anyone to have invented yet. We wonder if the ashes of an emperor glow even slightly when the emperor is discussed romantically in academic settings, if they toss a certain way in the breeze when too handsome an actor gets chosen to represent them. We wonder about the souls of fossils. We wonder if the dinosaurs extinguished themselves by forgetting how to fit their hazardous bodies together, shied from child-making out of fearful reverence to one another, and instead fell back to sleep in cool, scalloped caves.
steve subrizi sometimes co-hosts the Wednesday poetry mic at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has performed his poetry at such other venues as the Mercury Cafe in Denver and the Green Mill in Chicago, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK, The Legendary, Muzzle, Phantom Kangaroo, Ramshackle Review, Breadcrumb Scabs, and The Scrambler. He blogs drafts and the occasional vegan recipe at theprettiestgirlinschool.blogspot.com.